What’s It Like to Be a Trailblazer?

So what is it like to win a PM360 Trailblazer Brand Champion Award? Of course, it is an honor to be recognized by the industry for your efforts. It is an even greater honor when you consider the caliber of the PM360 Editorial Advisory Board that selects the winners, and the impressive cadre of industry veterans who have helped shape the healthcare marketing landscape over many years. The public recognition given to PM360’s Brand Champions is as much appreciated, as it is humbling. Humbling, because each of us work very hard every day trying to improve the lives of those we serve.

Most days, knowing that our efforts will help those who use our products provides enough satisfaction to keep improving what we do. Being named a PM360 Brand Champion winner is a bonus on top of that! And it’s more than an award and dinner—it is a complete 360 experience (pun intended) that is as much a development experience as it is a celebration of accomplishment. So I would like to share some of the highlights of these experiences.

The day before the gala, a smaller group of Brand Champions and industry partners gathered to discuss several issues around the engagement of healthcare professionals. Product managers today have to compete with a lot more than other pharmaceutical brands to capture the attention of HCPs. Now we must compete for their attention within every aspect of their personal and professional lives. HCPs have never had greater connectivity, greater access to peers, or greater access to information than they do today. This distinguished group spoke at length about creating meaningful customer centric experiences to engage customers—a necessary and fundamental shift in how we think about our efforts.

Great Food, Great Learning

After a lengthy afternoon of roundtable meeting, the group came together for dinner at the David Bouley’s fine dining establishment in TriBeCa and the discussions of the afternoon continued well into the evening. New friendships and ideas formed. Chef David Bouley invited the group into the kitchen to view his operations and learn about his approach to the culinary arts. Dining at Bouley is an experience that demonstrates this chef’s particular passion for clean cooking and preparing beautifully presented and nutrient-rich dishes. During an hour-long discussion, Chef Bouley spoke of his relentless passion for continuous improvement and his passion for all things healthy—offering additional learning and inspiration for the group.

The experiences proffered by the Brand Champion Roundtable and the dinner and talk with Chef Bouley clearly left an impression on all of us and stimulated many new ideas about how healthcare marketing can continue to evolve to meet the needs of our customers. Of course, the final event of the celebration: The PM360 Trailblazer Awards Gala at Gotham Hall. There, our industry congratulated and cheered all of the Trailblazer Award winners, celebrating their achievements—and danced the night away. The many Trailblazer award-winning efforts from all the industry professionals celebrated that night clearly demonstrated that all of us, from all facets of the industry are evolving—and we are all shaping the future of healthcare marketing!


  • Lars Merk

    Lars Merk is Multi-Channel Marketing Director, Diabetes at AstraZeneca. Lars is a marketing leader who has worked across numerous therapeutic areas and brands at AstraZeneca and previously at Johnson & Johnson. He has developed a strong reputation as a digital innovator that delivers business results.


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